Following on from Show that two points are not connected we have another impossible challenge.
Where the previous article is a critique of existing approaches to knowledge, this challenge goes some way towards showing how things like life, the universe and everything actually work (at least from the perspective of actual life living in an actual universe).
The specific point is that everything is a relationship. It isn’t possible for us to be aware of, or interact with, anything that is not a relationship.
A reasonable starting point is to define what we mean by a relationship.
Except that it is impossible to strictly define anything (dictionaries not withstanding).
You do have some idea of what relationships are. You have come across many relationships in your life. From the relationships between your family and friends to the relationships of physical laws. You know that relationships exist. You are not in anyway surprised that someone would say that there are relationships. The existence of relationships is clear even without a specific definition.
We can make similar observations regarding differences and connections. Clearly there are connections between some things. Obviously some things are different from other things.
What happens when we reverse the question?
Show two things that are not connected.
In the last article I tautologically defined ‘connection’ to be everything you experience.
If you experience something it is (defined to be) connected to everything else you experience.
Using this definition we can speculate that there might exist things that are unconnected to you, but you will never experience those things. Something unconnected to you will never affect you in any way.
Everything that you can experience is connected.
If we assert that things that are connected to each other are related to each other we will find that un-related things also have no bearing on what we experience.
We can observe that things that are connected and related are also different.
So, things that are connected to each other are related to each other. Things that are related to each other are different to each other.
This isn’t very profound yet. Our definitions are deliberate tautologies informed by experience. There are connections, there are relationships and there are observable differences and these things do appear to be closely coupled ideas.
Here comes the twist (I don’t exist)
Well… unlike the urban spaceman, I do exist. However, the things that are connected, related and different – they don’t exist.
More accurately, we only ever see the connection, the relationship and the difference. We cannot see what is being connected, what is related, the object itself.
Under the current zeitgeist of modern thought you would expect a series of logical arguments based on a set of stated assumptions that you could argue with.
Logic has no place here.
The one thing you are completely certain of is your own existence. As it happens, your own existence encompasses every experience you will ever have. As such, you are absolutely certain of your own experiences.
You experience connections. You know that connections exist. You experience relationships. You know that relationships exist. You experience differences. You know that differences exist.
Things that are not connected to you, that you are not related to, whose difference you cannot perceive – these things are irrelevant to you. They have no significance in your life, they do not form part of your experiences.
The zeitgeist reversed
Conventional wisdom holds that there are things. These things have properties that govern their relationships with other things.
Given that we want to understand and control the relationships between things we need to understand how the properties of the things interact to produce the behaviour we observe.
Gosh that is a lot of redundant effort.
We want to understand the relationships – so why not talk about the relationships directly? Why invent fictional objects that we can never see directly?
The only way to determine the properties of an electron are to observe the relationships over time of an electron.
So… We study the relationships over time of an electron to work out the properties of an electron that will explain the relationships over time of an electron.
No one has ever seen an electron
Those electron microscope pictures? They are the result of a whole chain of relationships/interactions.
THERE IS NO SPOON.
Quarks and bosons, the entire particle zoo – all fictions invented to explain the relationships we observe. The relationships exist. Not-relationships do not.
No one has ever seen a particle move. We ‘see’ an interaction and we see another interaction. We then fill in the gaps and assume their must have been a particle and that particle must have moved through a space-time that must exist to justify seeing those two interactions in sequence.
Like frames in a movie, we interpolate distinct events and fill in the gaps with pure imagination.
There are only relationships
(and connections, and differences, and trees made out of relationships, and societies made out of relationships, and planets made out of relationships,…)
The fascinating thing about relationships is that the only way to describe a relationship is in terms of other relationships.
That is all we have ever done. That is all we can ever do. We can manipulate relationships and describe relationships in terms of other relationships.
Since everything we have achieved thus far is ‘just’ playing with relationships it shouldn’t be considered too great a limitation.
Your existence is completely certain (to you). Your existence is your foundation. Your existence is all the proof you will ever need (or have).
You understand. You find meaning in words. You act and change your world.
There are no words that can prove to you that you don’t exist. There are no words that you can experience that are inconsistent with your experience.
Everything you experience changes you so that you experience things just a little differently in the future.
You are not anybody else. Nobody can understand for you. You have to understand for yourself.
There are only relationships.
I can’t persuade you of this. Nobody can persuade you otherwise.
It is simply part of your existence.
It is self evident that there are only relationships. Granted – this particular bit of self evidence has spent a while wearing a disguise that would make Sherlock Holmes envious.
That disguise is now stripped away.
You can choose to see that you have only ever seen the relationships. Ince you know to look for it it is genuinely as evident and certain as your own existence.